First thing you realize when you walk into El Cochinito is that everybody is doing something. The staff is polite and ready to serve you. They’ve been doing this for years you know – since 1988 to be exact. Talk about tradition in a time where everybody is trying to be new and “groundbreaking.”
While waiting for my food, a few people walked in and greeted the staff as if they’ve known each other for years. It was a very familial environment. Some customers hadn’t been there since the restaurant was remodeled around two years ago, according to one of the waiters. Yet, the conversations felt like two old friends catching up.
This friendly and community-like feel might have to do with the history of the restaurant. It is run by a family who started with their abuela’s recipes – let’s just say abuela did not disappoint. How could she though? On their social media accounts, the family shares pictures of their great grandfather’s restaurant back in Cuba. It truly is a family thing and the food is ah-mazing.
You can tell that keeping their roots and traditions alive is very important for them. Everything in the restaurant feels authentic, proud and inviting. From the old black and white pictures of the times in Cuba to the contemporary art of Cuban icons Celia Cruz and Gloria Stefan, the restaurant represents their culture in every aspect.
In with the new and out with the old? Except ropa vieja though…
Let’s talk about the menus. On one side, they feature Cuban famous people like William Levy, Pitbull, Camila Cabello, and José Canseco. And on the other, it is made up of all the goodness of traditional Cuban food like:
- Ropa vieja
- Lechon asado
- Arroz con leche
And a few surprises like, Chinese-Cuban fried rice and paella Valenciana.
So what makes this place extra special?
Aside from the great decor and modern Cuban art, last year, they won the award for best Cuban sandwich in the world – IN THE WORLD. Obviously I had to try it and yes, it was delicious. Thank you abuela. The enthusiasm and pride of winning this title can be felt just by looking at the huge trophy up on the bar against the wall. I mean, that pretty much says it all.
Going through their social media accounts, it’s clear El Cochinito team has a great support system. It truly feels like a neighborhood go-to spot. The team announced their participation in the best Cuban sandwich contest and you can see the support. Needless to say, the community was rooting for them. Bravo!
So what’s in a Cuban sandwich?
- Swiss Cheese
- Cucumber pickle
- Cuban bun
Check out this video. Careful, you might drool.
To finish my visit, I had a cortadito and…my God. Is there anything they can’t do? Even the coffee was delicious.
While enjoying my much needed dose of caffeine, I asked about their Spotify playlist. It was refreshing to hear original tunes like Ibeyi2 and icons, Omara Portuondo and Celia Cruz. I was told the staff compiled it with their favorite hits – from English hits to son and Afro-Cuban music. Super cool initiative as this makes it more interactive for the staff and the customers. Some of their favorite artists are even featured on their social media – thanks for that btw.
The whole ambiance feels like you’re at a modern day Cuban restaurant in La Havana. The best part? A second location has opened at the Grand View Public Market in West Palm Beach, Florida. El Cochinito is back in the State that gave them their new worldly title. So if you’re in the area, pay them a visit and come prepared to feast on their whole menu.
The people, the decor, the food, the vibe, everything is “on point.” Would you make a special trip to L.A. or West Palm Beach to try the world’s best Cuban sandwich?
3508 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026
Tuesday – Sunday 11am – 10pm; Closed Mondays
1401 Clare Avenue
West Palm Beach FL, 33401
Monday – Saturday 7am – 10:30pm; Sunday 7am – 8pm
#JustDoIt #WorldsBestCubanSandwich #QuimbaraQuimbara!
This is one feature within our “Venturing Through LA” series. Check out the rest:
- Time Travel: Echo Park Takes Us On A Writing Journey… Through A Wormhole
- DTLA: Chicas Tacos For Days…
- Tierra Mía Coffee: Is This the Latin Take On Starbucks?
- DTLA: A Place Where Pupusas Shine Bright Just For You
- L.A. Plant Based Scene: Brewery, Lunch, Ice Cream a la non-dairy. Cheers!
- East L.A., Sara’s Market: Bringing Local Goodness to the Neighborhood